Firefighters with department recognized with long-service awards
MILFORD: Being a volunteer firefighter makes your community a safer place, a better place, said one of the six recipients from Milford Fire presented with long-service awards for almost 50-years of firefighting at a recent ceremony.
Ralph Wardrope has been a firefighter with the department in Milford for 47 years. He received a Governor General Exemplary Service Award (his 30 and 40 years of service bars); Provincial long-service award for 35 and 45 years; and the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association (CVFSA) Municipal Long Service Award for 45 years of service.
He was asked why he stayed involved in the fire service for so long before retiring.
“The biggest reasons are guys, it’s the camaraderie, the group, the fun. It’s not all, it’s not all work. There’s a lot of work, but it’s not all work to it, mainly the fun camaraderie.
Wardrope said a lot of things has changed since he began almost five decades ago.
‘We were down in the old hall in Milford, and the only place that there was any heat was down in the basement next to the furnace,” he recalled. “We didn’t have any turnout gear. The chief had a hat, a hat, and he had a raincoat, and that was it.
“We had to work hard to get gear and build from there. A lot of it was donated. A lot of it was bought through where Army-Navy surplus and things like that.”
He said the department’s first truck was from Halifax.
“We also built a couple of trucks,” he said.
Wardrope said as technology has evolved so has the fire service and the safety gear, they use to stay safe while protecting the communities they call home.
“Scott Air packs is something that we never even thought we would need,” he said.
“Now, all of a sudden, you can’t go near a fire without some kind of breathing apparatus on yourself.”
What’s Wardrope’s message to someone in East Hants—or any area for that matter—who may be a little hesitant in seeing what the volunteer fire service is all about and joining?
“it’s really in their best interest. There’s lots of things you can learn. There’s many facets, many jobs,” said Wardrope.
“It’s not just fighting fires and, you know, climbing ladders and things like that. There’s the first aid side of things.
“There’s the medical side, but it’s there’s a lot of self-satisfaction.
“It helps you make your community a safer place, a better place.”
Other Milford firefighters presented with an award during the short ceremony by PC MLA John A. MacDonald and Milford-Nine Mile River councillor Eldon Hebb included:
- – Kevin MacLellan has been with the department for 37 years. Received a Governor General Exemplary Service award for 30 years of service bar and Provincial long-service award for 35 years of service. He was also presented Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association (CVFSA) Municipal Long Service Award for 35 years of service.
- – Retired Captain Herbert Romkey has 36 years of service with Milford VFD. He received 30-year Governor General Exemplary service award service bar. He was presented a Provincial Long-service award for 35 years service and a Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association (CVFSA) Municipal Long Service Award for 35 years of service.
- – David Barkhouse has served 33 years with Milford VFD. He received both his 20- and 30-year Governor General Exemplary service award medals and his 25 year Provincial long-service award. Barkhouse was also presented a Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association (CVFSA) Municipal Long Service Award 30 years of service bar.
- – Chief Edward Moxsom has been with Milford VFD for 25 years. He was given his 20 years of service Governor General Exemplary Service award and his 25-year provincial long-service award, which he will receive at a later date.
- Herbert Romeky was presented with his 30 years of service Governor General Exemplary Service award; 35 year Provincial long-service award; and a Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association (CVFSA) Municipal Long Service Award for 35 years of service.
- – Charles Dingle has been with the department for 25 years as well. He earned a Governor General Exemplary service award for 20 years of service; and 25 years provincial long-service award, which he will be presented at a later date.
MacDonald and Hebb both passed on their congratulations to all six recipients on behalf of residents of their respective areas and Nova Scotians in general during a short speech they both gave before the ceremony concluded.